The Face Behind the Face of MSU; Michigan State alumnus and former Sparty reveals the life of MSU’s favorite Spartan

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He can be seen at sporting events, making waffle cones at the Dairy Store and occasionally he will tap on your shoulder and hide when you are trying to study at the Union. How does he do it all? He is Sparty.

The elusive yet omnipresent ways of Sparty bring about many questions and suspicions to MSU students. How can Sparty represent our school at numerous events, sometimes on the same day and at the same time? According to an anonymous alumnus and former Sparty, “there is only one Sparty and you have to be him at all times. Select students have worked hard to carry on the tradition that has been passed down for years.”

The life of Sparty is time-consuming but rewarding. Hours are spent practicing with the marching band and the cheerleaders to learn all of the routines for game day. Sparty is always in high-demand.

“Interacting with the people and feeding off of their energy is one of the best parts of the job,” stated the former Sparty. “You get to be there for some highs in people’s lives, like their wedding day or inspiring alumni events, and nothing can come close [to that feeling].”

Because of his secretive nature, the life of Sparty will never be fully known to anyone but Sparty himself. The mystery is part of the allure and students love guessing who, or how many students, could be behind Sparty. A Sparty must keep his identity hidden from family members and close friends, and only reveals himself when he sports Sparty feet and a gown on graduation day.

“Nothing will ever top the feeling of waiting in the tunnel at Spartan Stadium and hearing the announcer introduce you followed by the eruption from the fans,” said the former Sparty. “When you put that chest plate and helmet on in the locker room, all worries from your normal life are over, you completely transform and everything is all right while you are Sparty.”

The nitty-gritty details of Sparty’s life will remain a mystery. If you think you have what it takes to carry on the spirit of Sparty and are between the heights of 5-foot-10 and 6-foot-2, contact the MSU Association of Future Alumni, because Sparty always needs help. Sparty escorts are also needed to help the beloved mascot get to all scheduled appearances. For now, you will just have to imagine who the face behind the mask is.


Anna Ellison is a junior professional writing major with minors in public relations and graphic design. She is currently the promotional representative for Spartan Ski Club and is a lover of all things Michigan made, the outdoors, other people’s dogs and the 1960s.


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